Friday, October 11, 2013

Rewind: Kuroko's Basketball

After a week of drowning in homework, I've finally emerged to breathe. As I look around Crunchyroll and Twitter, I realize something that I should already know: Kuroko's Basketball is back! I can't wait to start watching it again.

In honor of of the new season, this week's Rewind post goes back to the beginning of Spring 2012. I still lived at my aunt's house, and I was taking the year off of school, so I had plenty of time to follow the latest anime. I started seven new ones, and listed my first impressions. Only two of the initial seven kept my attention the entire season: Space Brothers and, of course, Kuroko's Basketball.

I admit, Kuroko's Basketball had an unfair advantage. It's a sports anime, and I rarely drop sports anime. But my love for the genre is not blind. If the anime is mediocre, like Area no Kishi or Dear Boys, I'll putter through an episode or two at a time over a period of months or years. If it's good, I'll eagerly watch each episode as soon as possible.

I didn't list Kuroko as the "most exciting" new anime on my list, but by the end of the second episode, I knew that the main character was cool, that the show was better than Dear Boys, and that I would love it. I was right on all three counts.

If you picked your basketball team from a lineup, Kuroko would be your last choice. In fact, you might not even notice him. He's small, and his fitness appears, at best, average for a fifteen year old boy. He makes a point not to draw attention to himself, and his shooting ability isn't much better than mine. But he loves the game, and, more importantly, he can pass.

"He can pass?" you say. "Big whoop. I've been throwing balls back and forth since I was three."
Kuroko, midgame in episode 10.

No, you see, Kuroko can pass. He identifies where he needs to be and where the ball needs to be, and he gets it done before the opposing team even remembers he's on the court. Many games have been won thanks to his refined skill and lack of presence. All the glory goes to his teammates, the ones who make the shots. He's just the "phantom" player, the little guy on the team, and he likes it that way.

Clearly, Kuroko has a unique approach to basketball. He builds up his team, presents himself as a "shadow" to their "light," as he said to his teammate Kagami.

He's not all that's good about this anime. Suspense is built in the competition, both in individual games and in longterm rivalry. And it's just plain fun. I smiled, chuckled, and laughed many times throughout the twenty five episodes. I look forward to watching Kuroko and his team as they continue to grow this season.

I'll leave you with that. I want to watch Kuroko's Basketball before people come home and interrupt me.

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